Social Science Perspectives on Medical Ethics

  • George Weisz

Part of the Culture, Illness, and Healing book series (CIHE, volume 16)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. George Weisz
      Pages 3-15
  3. Clinical Encounters of the Ethical Kind

  4. Ethics in the Public Arena

  5. The Institutions and Ideology of Medical Ethics

  6. Medical Ethics and Social Science

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 219-219
    2. Barry Hoffmaster
      Pages 241-260
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 273-297

About this book


Medical or hio- ethics has in recent years been a growth industry. Journals, Centers and Associations devoted to the subject proliferate. Medical schools seem increasingly to be filling rare positions in the humanities and social sciences with ethicists. Hardly a day passes without some media scrutiny of one or another ethical dilemma resulting from our new-found ability to transform the natural conditions of life. Although bioethics is a self-consciously interdisciplinary field, it has not attracted the collaboration of many social scientists. In fact, social scientists who specialize in the study of medicine have in many cases watched its development with a certain ambivalence. No one disputes the significance and often the painfulness of the issues and choices being addressed. But there is something about the way these issues are usually handled which seems somehow inappropri­ ate if not wrong-headed to one trained in a discipline like sociology or history. In their analyses of complex situations, ethicists often appear grandly oblivious to the social and cultural context in which these occur, and indeed to empirical referents of any sort. Nor do they seem very conscious of the cultural specificity of many of the values and procedures they utilize when making ethical judg­ ments. The unease felt by many in the social sciences was given articulate expression in a paper by Renee Fox and Judith Swazey which appeared in 1984.


Evolution Institution Nation american bioethics bioethics ethics medical ethics morality

Editors and affiliations

  • George Weisz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Humanities and Social Studies in MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1990
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-010-7361-5
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-1930-3
  • Buy this book on publisher's site